Strategies for Sustainable Movements  

Demonstration Laws By State 

Attending college during COVID-19 is a very new experience. Many are attending classes and interacting virtually from various locations. George Mason is aware that our diverse campus community is made up of individuals that come from various states in in our country.  

We acknowledge, some may want to show solidarity demonstrating/protesting in the state in which you liveWe recommend that you research the laws regarding demonstration in your state before engaging in protest. 

Before Protesting 

These harm-reduction tips were adapted and compiled from lists created by University of Tampa.  

Protesting and COVID19 Safety 

  • Consider who is in your household and their health. Do not risk exposing your household, especially if they are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications. 

Individuals most susceptible to COVID-19 

  • While protesting, wear a mask/face covering and avoid touching your face. Stay at least 6 feet apart from others to maintain physical distancing 
  • Do not shake hands, hug, share drinks or engage in long face-to-face conversations 
  • Cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow 
  • Change your clothes as soon as possible, shower and disinfect your belongings 
  • After protesting consider getting tested for COVID-19. If you have symptoms, call ahead to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or the local health department. 
  • Consider a two-week self-isolation. It is possible to transmit the coronavirus without showing any symptoms. 

Tips for Safely Protesting 

  • There are other ways to engage in activism besides protesting in the streets. This may look like educating yourself and the people around you, donating to organizations that support the same cause, and/or signing petitions. 
  • Use the buddy system by asking a friend to go with you 
  • Let someone you trust know where you are going 
  • Learn your rights when it comes to getting stopped by police 
  • Items to bring: 
    • Water (consider bringing bottles with sports caps to help flush eyes if there is exposure to tear gas) 
    • Sunglasses 
    • Mask/Face Covering 
    • Hand sanitizer 
    • Tissues 
    • First aid kit 
    • Snacks 
    • Hat to protect from the sun and help cover your face 
    • Sunscreen (sun exposer) 
  • Do not bring alcohol, cannabis, or cannabis products 
  • Dress in long sleeves (or bring an outer layer) and wear pants to protect your skin from chemical agents such as tear gas or pepper spray 
  • Wear comfortable, protective shoes 
  • Wear your hair up and out of your face  
  • Do not wear contact lenses, eye makeup or jewelry 
  • Fully charge your phone, and consider bringing an extra battery pack and charger  
  • Write two emergency contacts with telephone numbers directly onto your hand or arm with permanent marker in case you are arrested 
  • Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Nourish your body with the food you have available to you, stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Reach out to your support system and practice self-care.  

While Protesting 

  • Always stay focused and aware of your surroundings 
  • Stay hydrated by frequently drinking water 
  • Document injuries with photos and note the time and location 
  • Turn off Face ID and Touch ID, switch to Airplane Mode, disable data, and remove any personal credit information 
  • Enable a passcode on your phone 
  • Do not share any images of protesters on social media to protect their identities 
  • If your eyes get exposed to pepper spray or tear gas: 
    • Do not rub them; blinking and rinsing are most effective 
    • Tilt head sideways and rinse each eye with water (and diluted baby shampoo if available) 
    • Do not flush with milk, because the goal is to flush, not neutralize 

After Protesting 

  • Continue to take care of yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally  
  • Do not share any photos of protesters on social media.